The inception workshop of the technical cooperation project (TCP) in collaboration with FAO and the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) was held on 5 and 6 May 2016 at M-Plaza Hotel in Accra, Ghana. The workshop centred on strengthening the routine data collection on fisheries in West Africa within Member States of FCWC and was attended by all member States of FCWC and FAO experts.
After an opening ceremony chaired by the President of FCWC, Honourable Mrs. Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development of Ghana, Member States were to give an update of the fisheries sector in their respective countries through a country report based on a comprehensive overview of the fisheries statistical approach they have adopted over the years.
Given the noticeable difference in the methodologies of fisheries data collection they all put forward, Mr. Samuel Quateey, Director of Fisheries Commission of Ghana indicated that FCWC member States need to have one methodology for this TCP project to be a success. He suggested that data, for instance, on vessel classification and description of fishing gear types, are obtained through a harmonised methodology including a standardised system used by countries in data collection process and this unique methodology should bring forth positive results at the regional level and enable systematic data collection.
Mr. Seraphin Dedi, Secretary General of FCWC, commented that routine data collection by member States regarding this project will enable FCWC set up a regional fisheries data collection centre and this will not only promote the fisheries sector but will also enhance collaboration in the sub region.
Mr. De Graaf, fishery Expert of FAO said that it is paramount that countries make fisheries statistical data available at the national and regional levels in order to foster the reliability of these data and feasibility of this project.
At the close of the workshop, countries were urged to strengthen collaboration with National Statistic System Board in order to contribute and update the Fisheries contribution to the national economy as well as look for additional financial support from the national budget supporting this National Statistic System Board.